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Bankers, Indian Businessman bag 5-year jail term over N855m fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Monday, secured conviction and sentenced two top officials of Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank), Anayo Nwosu and Olajide Oshodi over N855 million fraud.

DAILY POST gathered that not only the duo were involved and convicted but Ashok Israni, an Indian businessman.

They were arraigned before Justice Kudirat Jose of the State High Court, Igbosere, Lagos State.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren said this in a statement in Abuja.

Also jailed, according to Uwujaren are NULEC Industries Limited said to belong to Israni and Keystone Bank Limited.

Further, it was explained that the convicts alongside Sunny Obazee were re-arraigned on October 4, 2016 on an amended 15-count charge bordering on conspiracy and obtaining by false pretence to the tune of N855 million.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Anayo Nwosu, Ashok Israni, Olajide Oshodi, Sunny Obazee, Bank PHB Plc/Keystone Bank Ltd and NULEC Industries Limited, between 14 July and 31st July, 2008, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did fraudulently convert to your use the sum of N285, 000, 000.00 (Two Hundred and Eighty-Five Million Naira) being the property of Dozzy Oil and Gas Ltd, when you credited the account of NULEC with the said sum to defray its debt owed to Bank PHB Plc as against paying the sum into the Private Placement Account of NULEC, which sum was to be used as payment for the purchase of shares of NULEC Industries Limited under a Private Placement.”

Another count reads: “That you, Anayo Nwosu, Ashok Israni, Olajide Oshodi, Sunny Obazee, Bank PHB Plc/Keystone Bank Ltd and NULEC Industries Limited, sometime in 2008 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N855, 000, 000.00 (Eight Hundred and Fifty-Five Million Naira) from Dozzy Oil and Gas Ltd, on the false pretence that NULEC Industries Limited was in active profit making manufacturing and trading activities, thereby purporting same to be payment for the purchase of shares of the said NULEC Industries Limited under a Private Placement.”

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them by them by the EFCC, that led to their full trial.

During the course of their trial, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, presented witnesses and tendered several documents that were admitted in evidence by the court.

In her judgment, Justice Jose discharged and acquitted the fourth defendant, Obazee.

He, however, convicted and sentenced the first, second and third defendants to five years imprisonment each on counts 1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 and 13 of stealing.

He also ordered the companies to pay a fine of N20m to the Federal government on counts 1, 10 and 13.

Further, the presiding Justice ordered the convicts to restitute the sum of N395 million to the victim of the fraud.

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